When I first heard that Cheryl Strayed had released a book of quotes curated from her earlier works, I was skeptical. I love Strayed’s work; Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things are both among my all-time favorite books. But despite the huge success of her books, I couldn’t help but wonder, with an online column, one novel, one memoir, and one self-help book (consisting of content pulled from said column) to her credit, did she really have enough material for what was essentially a “best of” collection?
Yes and no.
Brave Enough features 130 quotes from Strayed’s books, essays, and interviews (plus one more quote that she attributes to her mother). Many of them are excellent. Not all of them work out of context, but for the ones that don’t, there are plenty of others worth highlighting. Strayed’s advice is unapologetically blunt and honest, and I think the world would be a better place if more people followed her advice. One of my favorites (in part):
“It’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do… There isn’t a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it.”
Brave Enough can be read in one sitting. Or you could choose to read just a few quotes a day for inspiration. If you’re new to Strayed’s work, do yourself a favor and ready Tiny Beautiful Things, which many of these quotes are pulled from.
Image from Cheryl Strayed’s Facebook page